Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day 52, December 15, 2012 -- Compatibility Day

Today was our compatibility test with CSBF, where we hang from the launch vehicle and we and CSBF check out all of our systems and make sure there's nothing funny going on. We started with a nice weather forecast and rolled out to the deck and started getting the gondola set up for pickup. We then got word that the winds were scheduled to pick up somewhat between 11AM and 1PM, so we decided to go back in and wait out the wind rather than risk a repeat of the damage from a few days back. When inside, we were then weighed by CSBF as part of our pre-flight checkout.

After lunch, the winds had calmed down enough that we decided to go out again. We exited the high bay, unfolded the baffles and solar arrays, and set the elevation lock pin in place. At that point, we gave the gondola over to the CSBF crew who installed the ballast hopper, their solar arrays to power their electronics, and various other bits. Once that was done, they drove out away from the high bay where they connected the payload to their UTP -- the Universal Terminate Package, which is what is used to separate the balloon from the parachute+gondola at the end of the flight, and similarly the parachute from the balloon on landing. During that time, we tested all of our different communications channels -- our line-of-sight 1 GHz link, our TDRSS satellite link, and our Iridium satellite link.

By around 7PM, the winds had started to pick up again as the sun came out, so we decided to call it quits and brought the gondola back to the high bay. We had everything folded back up and back in the high bay by 9.

Pictures:
https://picasaweb.google.com/104253244018605213307/EBEXInAntarctica20121215

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